Al-Jazeera, The Qatar based broadcasting channel is under the pressure of closure. The Israeli government is firm in banning this channel by accusing it of “supporting terrorism” and “inciting regional violence”.
Following a vow the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, made in July to close the Jerusalem office of Al-jazeera, the communications minister, Ayoob Kara made an announcement to block it from operating in the country .Mr Kara, said: “Lately, almost all countries in our region determined that Al Jazeera supports terrorism, supports religious radicalisation…
“And when we see that all these countries have determined as fact that Al Jazeera is a tool of the Islamic State, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, and we are the only one who have not determined that, then something delusional is happening here.”
In his announcement he further said that Israel would block Al-Jazeera’s Arabic and English channels and revoke the press credentials of its journalists. Cable broadcasters are said to have agreed to a proposal to take the station’s Arabic and English broadcasts off air.
Al-Jazeera, was launched in 1996, and has since grown to become the most-watched TV channel in the Arab world. This channel has found itself in this situation as a consequence of diplomatic crisis between Qatar and the Gulf Cooperation Council.It made the ruling family in Doha to shut down the network central to a list of demands by the GCC.
The GCC followed Saudi Arabia in isolating Qatar in June, accusing its leaders of backing Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood which are Saudi Arabia’s regional enemies as well as inciting territorial animosity.
Jordan and Saudi Arabia have closed Al Jazeera’s local offices, while the channel and its sites have been blocked in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain.
Although Israel does not follow the Saudi-led demands, but it had long been scornful to of Al-Jazeera’s coverage of the Palestinian conflict, accusing the network of deep ties to Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza and the West Bank. The defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has described some of the coverage as “Nazi Germany-style” propaganda.
Al-Jazeera did not respond to the development, and the Israeli government offered no timetable for the shutdown.
Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza, condemned Israel’s plans.
“Al-Jazeera had a big role conveying the Palestinian narrative with a high professionalism,” said spokesman Hazem Qassem.
New York-based group The Committee to Protect Journalists also criticised the move, which it called “undemocratic”.
It said it would “put Israel firmly in the camp of some of the region’s worst enemies of press freedom”.